DRA calls for review of the Johnson Street Bridge landscaping plan

The Public Realm and Landscape Design Strategy for the Johnson Street Bridge came before City Council for review at a Governance and Priorities Committee meeting of a few weeks ago, but the review was ultimately postponed until July 24th. The DRA LUC has concerns about the lack of useable green space in the City’s proposal which features a wide paved surface at a steep gradient inserted in a cut between the Northern Junk site and Johnson Street. The LUC favours a design of local architect Paul Merrick the Architect for the Northern Junk and Janion redevelopments which contains usable green space and great potential for public gathering. You can view the Merrick design compared to the City design here.

The DRA has made our concerns known to City staff at the Johnson Street Bridge Approaches Open House held in 2012, and requested changes to the plan on several occasions over the past two years. While the DRA’s written submissions were acknowledged within an appendix to the documentation, the DRA is quite concerned that the priorities for downtown residents put forward in those submissions have been largely ignored.

Besides providing the public with usable green space the DRA also believes that Paul Merrick’s alternative design would cost less to implement, as the City’s plan would require removal and disposal of a significant volume of soil, which if contaminated, could cost the City hundreds of thousands of dollars in disposal fees. Merrick’s design would leave the soil in place. You can read the letter the DRA LUC sent to Victoria City Council on June 25, 2014 here.

The DRA is encouraging members to email City Councilors before July 24th, and request a review of the proposed design for the public spaces at the eastern bridge approaches. To request a review, click here to contact Mayor and Council via the City’s website, or send an email to Councillors@victoria.ca

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